Monday, 6 October 2014

It's all about Jesus Christ

In the introduction to Christ our Life, Mike Reeves writes:
Once upon a time a book like this would have been utterly run-of-the-mill. Among the old Puritans, for example, you can scarcely find a writer who did not write - or a preacher who did not preach - something called The Unsearchable Riches of Christ; Christ Set Forth; The Glory of Christ or the like. Yet today, what sells? What puts a smile on the bookseller's face? The book that is about the reader. People want to read about themselves. There's nothing necessarily wrong in that, of course; but that is not primarily what life is about. "For me to live is Christ," said the apostle Paul. "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (Phil. 1:21, 3:8). Startling words, all too easily dismissed as religious overexcitement. But Paul was not raving; he was speaking plainly, the deepest wisdom; that life is found in Jesus Christ, the author and source of it, and if we know him rightly, we will find nothing so desirable, so delightful as him.
It's not just our self-focus though; we naturally gravitate, it seems towards anything but Jesus - and Christians as almost as much as anyone else. Whether it's the 'Christian Worldview,' 'grace,' 'the Bible,' or 'the gospel'; as if they were things in themselves that could save us. Even 'the cross' can get abstracted from Jesus, as if the wood had some power of its own. Other things, wonderful things, vital discoveries, they so easily edge Jesus aside. Precious theological concepts meant to describe him and his work get treated as things in their own right. He becomes just another brick in the wall. But the centre, the cornerstone, the jewel in the crown of Christianity is not an idea, a system or a thing; it is not even 'the gospel' as such. It is Jesus Christ.

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